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Road Data Manager / HDM-4 Pavement Management System

National Roads Authority – Malawi

As with many other African countries, Malawi has limited resources and funding to manage its road network, and thus it is vital that these resources are utilised in an effective and appropriate manner.  The Malawi road network comprises approximately 15,500 km of road of which 4000 km are paved, primarily surface dressings, and the remaining 11,500 km are gravel and earth roads.  In 2005 the National Roads Authority (NRA) of Malawi requested TRL (UK) to develop a sustainable pavement management system to enable NRA to prioritise their road maintenance activities on this road network within their financial constraints based on sound economical criteria.  

A centralised database was developed for storing and processing information on Malawi’s road network based on surveys carried out by the NRA.  The information in the Road Data Manager (RDM) system includes ordnance, inventory, condition, traffic, pavement layer details, works history, etc.  The ordnance coordinates of each link of the road network and the bridges on the each link are recorded in RDM.  Inventory details stored in RDM include culverts, road signs, land use, social information such as farms, social services, etc.  

RDM processes the data and produces customised reports.  These reports can be in tabular or graphical form and provide useful information on the state of the road network for managers, planners and maintenance departments.  

In addition, RDM processes the data to produce a road network export file that can be imported directly into HDM-4 for use in analysis by HDM-4.  HDM-4 provides a powerful system for the analysis of road management and investment alternatives which produces prioritised works programmes for user specified budget scenarios.  

A routine in RDM was developed which will automatically create homogeneous sections of road, according to a series of user-definable selection criteria and create an export file, compatible with the HDM-4 input requirements.  The homogenisation and aggregation algorithms in RDM combine adjacent lengths of road to form homogenous road sections according to a set of criteria based on condition and inventory characteristics.  This process may be repeated any number of times.  When the user is satisfied with the sectioning then the user can proceed to export the road network file to HDM-4 version 1 or version 2.  

The RDM/HDM-4 Pavement Management System has now been operational in Malawi for the past couple of years and is used to help develop the country’s road sector investment programme as well as to economically justify donor funding for maintenance of their roads.

HDM-4 Version 2

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